On January 26-28, PMCG, in partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the CAREC Institute conducted a three-day regional training of trainers on free trade agreements (FTAs) in Tbilisi (Georgia). The training was aimed at strengthening capacities and empowering experienced government officials responsible for FTA negotiations from the CAREC countries.
The second part of the ToT entailed in-person training, with the first being delivered in an e-learning format on the CAREC Institute platform. The e-learning part spanned 12 modules with theories and case studies in the priority areas as identified through the capacity needs assessment of CAREC countries, conducted by PMCG. Meanwhile, the workshop covered negotiation simulations and practical exercises.
Zulfia Karimova (Principal Regional Cooperation Specialist, Public Management, Financial Sector and Regional Cooperation Division (EAPF), East Asia Department (EARD), ADB) opened the event and welcomed the representatives of CAREC countries, while PMCG’s consultants Mikheil Janelidze and Simon Lacey, along with experts from the ADB, the CAREC Institute, and UNESCAP led the ToT, focusing on trade in goods and services, as well as on trade-related aspects of electronic commerce.
“The Training of Trainers on FTA negotiations developed by PMCG in collaboration with the ADB, the CAREC Institute and UNESCAP provides an opportunity to participants to enhance not only their theoretical knowledge but to learn about recent developments and existing tools in the field, understand the regional dynamics and practices, share national experiences, and develop technical and soft skills through practical exercises and trade negotiation simulations,”Mikheil Janelidze, former chief trade negotiator of Georgia, and current trade sector lead at PMCG.
During the training, representatives of CAREC countries participated in interactive activities and gained technical expertise. By combining acquired knowledge with regional experience, they will now be able to contribute to the effective dissemination of knowledge in their own countries and serve as resources for their governments preparing for future FTA negotiations.
“I am sure that this training will enrich the skills of all participants and when they go back home they will use the skills and knowledge gained. CAREC countries are all interconnected, their economies are interconnected, and programs and forums like these can really bring these countries even closer. This connection with each other will definitely help their economies to grow,”said Qamar Zaman, Director General, Ministry of Commerce of Pakistan, who participated in the training.
Strengthening Knowledge and Capacities in the Design and Implementation of Free Trade Agreements Involving CAREC Countries
The workshop was part of a project aimed at strengthening knowledge and capacities of participants regarding the design and implementation of free trade agreements (FTAs) from all countries in the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) program (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, PRC, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan) and development partners working together to promote development through cooperation, leading to accelerated economic growth and poverty reduction, guided by the overarching vision of “Good Neighbors, Good Partners, and Good Prospects.”
The project aims to support the expansion of global and regional trade and investment opportunities of the CAREC countries and to ensure that integration in regional and global economies is enhanced through enhancing the capacities of countries to design, negotiate, implement, and monitor FTAs.
PMCG takes a pragmatic and tailored approach, using intra-regional knowledge and experience-sharing combined with international best practices when preparing training and capacity-building activities and materials to accomplish project objectives.
The project will help CAREC countries to maintain open and smooth trade to revitalize globalization, deepen regional cooperation, and achieve sustainable growth.